UNRWA in Jordan Launch Comprehensive "Education Cannot Wait" Distance Learning Programme

01 May 2020
 UNRWA student Omar Iyad Mohammed uses a distance learning platform from his home in Jabal el Hussein refugee camp, Jordan. © 2020 UNRWA photo

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) education programme launched a rapid response distance learning plan, the “Education Cannot Wait” initiative for Palestine refugee students in the Agency’s 169 schools across, accommodating the needs of some 118,000 Palestine refugees students. The plan ensures continuity of their scholastic programming, allowing for access to a quality and inclusive education despite the COVID-19 related school closures.

Agency educational staff at every tier of educational provision were involved to ensure student access to various e-learning platforms, as well as resources launched by the Jordanian Ministry of Education. These platforms include: Darsak (1) and Darsak (2) online platforms, as well as lessons broadcast on  television channels across Jordan. The UNRWA education programme provided remote training for to Agency teachers, preparing them for the new mode of teaching.  

Since the lockdown on movement on  19 March 2020, two UNRWA technical and vocational education training centres (TVET), namely the Amman Training Centre and the Wadi Seer Training Centre, as well as the Faculty of Educational Sciences and Arts (FESA) immediately transitioned to online educational programming through Moodle, among other direct contact platforms. 

“In light of this global emergency, UNRWA is dedicating significant effort to provide the best for our students to ensure the continuity of their education. We believe that education cannot stop and cannot wait. The future of Palestine refugees is our priority," said Mohammed Adar, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan.

"In a great collaboration with telecommunications companies in Jordan, our students in TVET and FESA are now able to access the online materials through free-of-charge internet connection packages. This excellent partnership enables our students continue following their lessons without any additional financial burden," Mr. Adar added.

UNRWA has prioritized a holistic response, including consideration of widespread access to smart phones, tablet and laptops, as well as provision of hygiene materials, remote career guidance sessions and psychological support via a network of school mentors.

“I’m very blissed to be able to keep up with my lessons at home,” said Kinan Ahmed, an UNRWA student at the Jabal el-Hussien School, “It’s a new and exciting experience!” he added.

Since it began operations in 1950, UNRWA has educated over two and a half million refugee children under a programme recognised as a significant educational force in the Middle East. UNRWA now serves more than 533,000 Palestine refugees in 709 Agency schools across the Middle East, providing quality and inclusive education even through times of emergency.

Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.6 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140